On Second Thought

IrishEyes' on-the-spot observations of today's second quarter vs. Stanford.

In-game observations of today's 2nd Quarter between the Cardinal and the Irish :

  • Trevor Robinson and Braxston Cave pick up a Owen Marecic blitz to lead to a 14-yard underneath route to Riddick
  • Michael Floyd has come to play.
  • Second drop by Riddick today; third impressive play by Shayne Skov defensively
  • Blatant hold on LT Zack Martin on a 3rd and 10 pass to Floyd that fell incomplete
  • David Ruffer drills his 12th field goal in 12 career tries, this time from 40 yards to cut the Cardinal lead to 10-6. Notre Dame has just five touchdowns in 13 trips inside the red zone this season; Ruffer's field goal was just the 9th second quarter point by the Irish in this, the fourth game.

  • Nice kick coverage by Filer, staying home outside to limit Owusu to just 19 yard
  • Gary Gray went for the pick rather than the big hit in Notre Dame's second Cover 0 effort, allowing a six-yard gain rather than 4-yard loss to set up 3rd and 4. Baldwin then beat Gray for a 1st down when the Irish corner slipped covering the slot.
  • Sean Cwynar in at defensive end with Ian Williams remaining on the nose.
  • Seniors Kerry Neal and Brian Smith have had issues setting the edge vs. the run for four seasons…it continues today
  • Nice play by Hafis Williams to bat down a 2nd and 6 pass, setting up a crucial 3rd down for the Irish defense at its own 45-yard line
  • Darrin Walls was beaten by a familiar route – the cross off the snap – then missed the tackle to allow a Stanford first down.
  • Andrew Luck and the Stanford receivers are simply better than the Irish back seven, collectively…a 19-yard first down strike on 3rd and 11 placed the ball squarely on the Irish 20-yard line with 6:54 remaining
  • Great solo tackle by Gray in space to drop the Cardinal for a 2-yard loss on a misdirection pitch: Darius Fleming (or Kapron Lewis-Moore, I missed the number) made the play by staying home on the backside vs. a bevy of blockers.
  • Blanton receives credit for turning at the last second (thereby avoiding a pass interference call) on a 3rd down toss to the front pylon. The Cardinal settle for a field goal: Stanford 13 ND 6. Big defensive stand No. 2 by the Irish defense, the unit that has thus far played well enough to win.

  • Gray gains 10 on his first carry, but a slow-developing play is limited to a yard one play later. Poor effort by right guard Trevor Robinson on the play.
  • Notre Dame's previously solid pass protection has been exposed by the delayed blitzes of the Cardinal linebackers.
  • Riddick had broken open down the seam on Crist's 3rd down bounce pass to the far side.

  • Andrew Luck executes play-action as well as any quarterback in the country…
  • Stanford catches everything: Coby Fleener again works the middle of the Irish zone, securing the catch despite a hit by Jamoris Slaughter.
  • Blanton nearly stumbles, then saves a 30-yard completion with a diving pass breakup intended for Owusu.
  • A great play by Te'o on 2nd down (breaking up a strike downfield) is negated when Luck beats Motta on a corner route for 21 yards.
  • The Cardinal tight ends are destroying the Irish safeties and inside 'backers...
  • Big play No. 3 by Robert Blanton, who has obviously been targeted, tipping another deep ball that's intercepted by Jamoris Slaughter and returned to the Irish 31-yard line…a clipping call by Te'o brings the ball back to the 14-yard line with 1:21 remaining.
  • Robert Blanton's 1st Half performance serves as his best effort since his rookie season of 2008.

  • Crist was hit late (no call) on a pass dropped by Rudolph to set up 3rd and 10 with 0:51 remaining.
  • Another poor offensive series by Brian Kelly and the Irish. The Cardinal take possession at midfield with 0:34 remaining.
  • Calabrese with a full whiff in space gives the Cardinal an easy eight yards…and a stopped clock, with 0:27 remaining.
  • The Cardinal play it (painfully safe) connecting on a 36-yard field goal (snapping with 8 seconds remaining from the Irish 19-yard line.

  • Through four full second quarters, the Irish offense has produced a mere nine points…

Halftime Score: Stanford 16 Notre Dame 6


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